Why Not Michal Rozsival?

Jonathan Willis
July 05 2012 10:57AM

If the Edmonton Oilers are having difficulty bolstering their blue line via trade, is there any reason for them not to talk to free agent defenseman Michal Rozsival?

Rozsival is a good fit for the Oilers’ top four in a few ways. He played that role last season for the Phoenix Coyotes – including in the playoffs, as the team advanced to the Western Conference Finals – and has a nice, well-rounded game. He has a hard (and right-handed) shot – though he didn’t get any power play time in Phoenix last season – a good outlet pass, and a conscientious two-way game. He’s not the fastest skater in the world but he’s sound enough positionally to make up for it. He’s not overly physical but does engage, and he’s not overly big but is certainly big enough (6’1”, 212lbs).

Last season, Rozsival saw second-pairing opposition and lots of time in the defensive zone. Despite the tougher minutes, he fared pretty well. He’s done much the same throughout his career – since the lockout, he’s a cumulative plus-55, and has only been a minus player in one of those seasons; more advanced statistical measures show much the same performance year-over-year. There’s also at least some chance that he outperforms next season – an injury in his first game of the year cost him the season’s first two months.

For the Oilers, Rozsival could fill in on virtually any pairing. With a pair of younger players – Jeff Petry and Justin Schultz – slated for big minutes on the right side, Rozsival’s dependability and versatility make him an excellent option. He can handle heavy minutes on even-strength and on the penalty kill, and while he wasn’t used on the power play last season he has had success in a secondary role in those situations since the lockout.

What would a contract look like? The money isn’t likely to be a problem – even in the current climate, he seems like a good bet to go for $3.0 million or less and at 34 it’s hard to imagine teams are lining up to offer him term. He’s not a long-term solution, but as a stopgap until the younger players are a little more proven and the top prospects are a little more NHL-ready it’s tough to argue that he isn’t ideal.

The only real question is injury. Rozsival has missed some time the last few years after being highly durable earlier in his career, and he did take an ugly-looking knee-on-knee hit from Dustin Brown in the playoffs. Any team signing him would need to be confident that he’s either at or will be at 100% in time for training camp.

Personally, I think Rozsival’s well worth talking to, as long as he’s open to a) playing in Edmonton and b) a relatively short-term deal. Certainly the Oilers’ defense looks a lot better with Rozsival as the fifth defender, Whitney as the sixth and Sutton in the number seven slot than it does with Whitney and Sutton on the third pairing and Peckham/Potter as the reserve guy. He’d be an excellent safety net in case Petry stumbles, Justin Schultz isn’t quite as good as advertised as a rookie, or Whitney isn’t completely healthy.

Not only that, but Rozsival can be expected to have a similar short-term impact to that of a player like Niklas Hjalmarsson, and the Oilers wouldn't need to send away anything to get him. The extra bodies on the team - guys like Omark, Peckham and Potter - can either be shopped for draft picks, or in the worst-case scenario put on waivers when the season starts.

This week by Jonathan Willis

74b7cedc5d8bfbe88cf071309e98d2c3
Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
Avatar
#1 speeds
July 05 2012, 11:09AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
4
cheers
Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Throw him onto the pile of 3-7 d'men that are already here.

Is there really a reward to signing Rozsival? I'd rather gamble that Klefbom could be better than Rosey the second half of the coming yr.

Signing Rozsival would also mean you could send Klefbom back to the SEL for another year, and delay his contract a year, which will prove pretty useful 3 years from now if Klefbom develops as hoped.

Avatar
#3 Robin Brownlee
July 05 2012, 12:21PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
3
cheers

"Why do I keep seeing Ryan Whitney's name being thrown about as "third pairing" or "#6"... seriously?

When he's healthy, which by the end of the season, it certainly appeared he was on the way to being, he's undoubtedly top 2 on this roster."

You see it because some people were pissed when Whitney was acquired for the beloved Lubomir Visnovsky and they remain so as he plays out his declining years on Long Island after being traded for a draft pick.

Whitney, on one leg, is a second-pairing player in this bunch. If he's healthy, he's the best of the group.

Avatar
#4 Haywood Jablome
July 05 2012, 11:00AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
2
cheers

Might never be a Fist pairing guy, but would fit in for a couple seasons here.

Avatar
#5 Mike Krushelnyski
July 05 2012, 11:09AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
2
cheers

I like this idea a lot. Instead of complaining at the end of the year that we were decimated by injuries, why not bring in some veteran cover and build in some rendundancy on the blue line?

Avatar
#6 Quicksilver ballet
July 05 2012, 11:58AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
2
cheers

If all you detractors were lined up on the bench, i'd swing my Gucci knockoff manpurse across the top of all your helmets.

Throw him in the deep end, he'll be fine.

Avatar
#7 rickithebear
July 05 2012, 03:26PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
1
cheers

RB: whitney was a 5-6 last year. two years ago he was a #1.

Some people will think he was a 6 still is a six.

He showed slight progression defensively at the end of the season. offesively he was back at his 50Pt season pace.

I hope he can handle the lower 2nd to 3rd comp. while still being that good ofensively. it would be nice to have rozival. So that we have our #3-#6 dmen all capable of 2nd line comp.

Cause it was brutal watching #5-#10 dmen having to face 2nd comp last year.

Avatar
#8 mike
July 05 2012, 11:02AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

I'm not a Rosival fan.

Avatar
#9 Quicksilver ballet
July 05 2012, 11:04AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Throw him onto the pile of 3-7 d'men that are already here.

Is there really a reward to signing Rozsival? I'd rather gamble that Klefbom could be better than Rosey the second half of the coming yr.

Avatar
#10 Saytalk
July 05 2012, 11:27AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Good idea. For the reasons mentioned in the article, Rozsival is worth a look, but you forgot to mention his Corsi.

Avatar
#11 The Hall Way
July 05 2012, 11:29AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@Mike Krushelnyski

Agreed.

Avatar
#12 stevezie
July 05 2012, 11:32AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Man do I agree with this. Even if Hjalmarsson was a free agent I'd still prefer Roszival. Given the choice I'd rather pay him an extra million to take a one year deal, but I'd be open to two.

For salary reasons it might be nicer to trade three spare parts for his equivilant, but what team wants three guys who can't make the Oilers?

Even if you don't like this player, you admit he's an NHL d-man, right? We need one more of those.

Avatar
#13 Quicksilver ballet
July 05 2012, 11:33AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@ Speeds

What about Edmonton doesn't scream developing team in progress Speeds? The first overall selection 3 yrs in a row, it's not like he'd be in over his head with the modest expectations here.

2/3rds of the teams in this league are in this developmental category. Too many teams and not enough talent to go around has put all too many teams there. Oscar hopefully has a bright future ahead of him. He just needs some confidence in his abilities that match the potential many believe he has.

Avatar
#14 billylikestodrinksoda
July 05 2012, 11:39AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Throw him onto the pile of 3-7 d'men that are already here.

Is there really a reward to signing Rozsival? I'd rather gamble that Klefbom could be better than Rosey the second half of the coming yr.

hes at worst a 6 on this team and is ahead of sutton, peckham, potter, and teubert by leaps and bounds in my estimation.

A top 6 of smid-petry, schultz jr+sr, whitney-rozsival is a substantial upgrade from anything last year

We need stop gaps like rozsival before just giving roster spots to young D such as klefbom.

He needs another year of development, whether thats SEL or AHL, I don't care but I am not comfortable assuming he deserves a top 6 role when he hasn't dominated the SEL and he looked good at a development camp for 18-23 year olds

And speeds is bang on. Why waste a year of his contract playing 10 minutes a night or sitting in the pressbox.

Let him dominate or at least stand out in the lower leagues before granting him an NHL job

Avatar
#15 speeds
July 05 2012, 11:42AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
Quicksilver ballet wrote:

@ Speeds

What about Edmonton doesn't scream developing team in progress Speeds? The first overall selection 3 yrs in a row, it's not like he'd be in over his head with the modest expectations here.

2/3rds of the teams in this league are in this developmental category. Too many teams and not enough talent to go around has put all too many teams there. Oscar hopefully has a bright future ahead of him. He just needs some confidence in his abilities that match the potential many believe he has.

The Oilers don't need to rush him because they are still in the development stage.

They have talked about the importance of a slow and steady path for the guys that need it, the DET model, etc. The DET model doesn't include putting a 19 year old D into the NHL when it's pretty unlikely he'd be more than a marginal upgrade, at best, over what you already have.

Avatar
#16 Quicksilver ballet
July 05 2012, 11:42AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@ Jay Dubya

If you could get him for only one yr then yes. He's probably looking for multi yrs. It's the second and third yr of that deal that could bite the Oilers in the arse.

Avatar
#17 Neilio
July 05 2012, 11:46AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

I'd take him as a stop gap to buy time until some of our younger guys are ready. Worst case, somebody will want him at the deadline and we pick up a third round pick for him or something.

Avatar
#18 MJM
July 05 2012, 11:47AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Why do I keep seeing Ryan Whitney's name being thrown about as "third pairing" or "#6"... seriously?

When he's healthy, which by the end of the season, it certainly appeared he was on the way to being, he's undoubtedly top 2 on this roster.

Avatar
#19 billylikestodrinksoda
July 05 2012, 11:53AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
MJM wrote:

Why do I keep seeing Ryan Whitney's name being thrown about as "third pairing" or "#6"... seriously?

When he's healthy, which by the end of the season, it certainly appeared he was on the way to being, he's undoubtedly top 2 on this roster.

Because we have no indication he will ever be 100% of what he used to be. He's even said it himself in interviews.

Mobility was a huge issue for him last year and a strong management group wouldn't count on him being healthy.

That has always been my main issue with current management. They never have a backup plan or an insurance policy. In a way they always have a mindset of an optimistic fan, believing, "well if everything goes right, we will be okay"

I believe as management in the NHL you almost need to always assume the worst outcome and plan accordingly with as much NHL depth as possible. Unfortunately, the Oilers havn't done that since '06.

Avatar
#20 billylikestodrinksoda
July 05 2012, 12:03PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
Quicksilver ballet wrote:

If all you detractors were lined up on the bench, i'd swing my Gucci knockoff manpurse across the top of all your helmets.

Throw him in the deep end, he'll be fine.

This isn't Hall or Nugent-Hopkins or Yakupov.

How can you say something like that if he has never even been thrown into the deep end in the SEL?

Let the kid prove himself in lesser leagues first or else the chance of him losing all confidence and becoming a staple on Färjestad's top 6 at the age of 25 increase significantly

Avatar
#21 TrentonL
July 05 2012, 12:07PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Rozsival could likely be a top 2 dman on the Oilers. There are so many question marks on this d it is not even funny. Whitney's health, Petry sustained development, what is J. Schultz. Who is the 3rd right dman, LH N. Schultz, will Sutton be hurt/suspended all season?

For all the talk by Tambo and Co. about raising expectations, not talking to a guy like Rozsival would be a huge mistake.

There is no downside to signing Rozsival to $3mm for 2 years if this team has any playoff aspirations this season. Let Klefbom get some big minutes in the SEL instead of trial by fire on the 3rd pairing.

Avatar
#22 admiraimark
July 05 2012, 12:09PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@billylikestodrinksoda

@billylikestodrinksoda Its just this way of thinking that has gotten this team the #1 pick 3 years in a row... Now with the current lineup they are likely even with standard injury season to finish about 10-12th in the West and out of the lottery. I suspect management is just fine with this incremental improvement as the development continues. We wouldn't want to add another piece on D only to take us out of a top 10 pick next year do we? ;)

All joking aside I think unless someone comes along and offers a cant lose offer on a 25-30 yr old 1st or 2nd pairing D... for Hemsky and or Gagner and spare parts they will stand pat. My guess is the hope is Hemsky stays healthy til this seasons trade deadline and raises his value to a level where trading him is going to bring a valuable asset back.

Avatar
#23 stevezie
July 05 2012, 12:10PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

The only upside to choosing Klefbom over Roszival for this season is it would save money. Roszival is almost certainly a better defenceman now, and it is in the team's interest to maximize Kelfbom's ELC. Rozi over Klefbom is in our long and short term interests.

Seriously Quicksilver, even if he is "fine" he probably won't be "good". What is the advantage?

I like Katz just fine, but I don't care about spending his money. At all.

Avatar
#25 derrickhands
July 05 2012, 12:15PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Your reasoning is once again faulty Jonathan. If Petry or Whitney go down or don't perform, you would think the Oilers would want a PMD. Then Rozsival has concussion issues and that in its self should be enough of a reason to back away. From the looks of things he might be a upgrade over N.Shultz, but not much and is he worth it, just for one year of service. You would think with a rebuilding team, they would give a spot to one of their prospects.

Avatar
#26 rickithebear
July 05 2012, 12:16PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Why?

Avatar
#27 rickithebear
July 05 2012, 12:17PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Mike: Why?

Avatar
#28 stevezie
July 05 2012, 12:24PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@derrickhands

There is no such thing as a bad one year contract. I'd rather pay Roszival 4.5 for one year than 6 over two.

I think recent Oilers history shows that developing prospects in the NHL is a good way to burn ELCs and not much else. We've got one rookie in the top 6, I think that's as many as we want.

Maybe you see it differently (many do), but I think prospects are best developed by being put in a position to succeed in lesser leagues.

Avatar
#29 shanetrain
July 05 2012, 12:24PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Why not offer sheet Shea Weber?

Tells the fans they are serious about winning right now and we don't lose any of our current talent.

Avatar
#30 godot10
July 05 2012, 12:28PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

I think the Oilers hope to get a Rosival-type defenseman in trade for less money with fewer years left on the contract.

Why not Rosival? Probably because UFA's always cost $500K too much per season for one too many seasons.

Avatar
#32 billylikestodrinksoda
July 05 2012, 12:29PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
shanetrain wrote:

Why not offer sheet Shea Weber?

Tells the fans they are serious about winning right now and we don't lose any of our current talent.

Cause you would have to give up the following and I would assume the offer sheet would have to be above 7.835 for nashville not to match

6,268,175 — $7,835,219: Two first-round picks, a second and third $7,835,219 and higher: Four first-round picks

Avatar
#34 billylikestodrinksoda
July 05 2012, 12:32PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
admiraimark wrote:

@billylikestodrinksoda Its just this way of thinking that has gotten this team the #1 pick 3 years in a row... Now with the current lineup they are likely even with standard injury season to finish about 10-12th in the West and out of the lottery. I suspect management is just fine with this incremental improvement as the development continues. We wouldn't want to add another piece on D only to take us out of a top 10 pick next year do we? ;)

All joking aside I think unless someone comes along and offers a cant lose offer on a 25-30 yr old 1st or 2nd pairing D... for Hemsky and or Gagner and spare parts they will stand pat. My guess is the hope is Hemsky stays healthy til this seasons trade deadline and raises his value to a level where trading him is going to bring a valuable asset back.

Haha yeah very true.

Yeah even a 4/5 dman like Sekera in Buffalo would appease me. Lets see what Petry develops into this year and watch our assets grow in value.

I'd rather have stop gaps for a year or 2 until we know what we have with this group and then make a trade for a number 1 dman accordingly

Avatar
#37 The Beaker
July 05 2012, 12:36PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@Shanetrain

Really? We can afford to give up our next four first rounders? We're that deep?

Not even close.

Avatar
#38 madjam
July 05 2012, 12:37PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Which way to go ? Minor splash or major splash ? Youth or experienced ? Long term or short term ? The baskets filled this year , or just starting to fill up ? Many variables this season already , don't know if Oilers will do much more to enhance a push toward playoffs this year . Major youth with some experience and long term ability would be my preference , and seem to fit in with what the Oilers seem to want to do . How many centers or defencemen fit that bill , over just short term " stop gap " players ? Rozival seems like another stop gap measure at best .

Avatar
#39 Quicksilver ballet
July 05 2012, 12:38PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@ Billylikestodrinksoda

Half of the rosters in the SEL are made up of guys just playing out the string, a hockey career graveyard if you will. The other half are kids with potential. If expectations are to raise another marginal NHL d'man, then sure, let him progress at his own pace. Perhaps an arguement can be made his time there in the SEL has stunted his maturation proccess.

Let him play with better players this coming season, for all we know his level of play could rise along with the level of players surrounding him.

Avatar
#40 shanetrain
July 05 2012, 12:39PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

I realize the ramifications of the one year deal and all the first rounders going the other way.

I don't think its absurd to think Weber might negotiate a ridiculous long term deal during that one year window?

I would move heaven and earth for that fella to don Oil silks.

Avatar
#42 Ring2theDing
July 05 2012, 12:51PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

I think it's better for the team if we make teh young guys force themselves onto the roster instead of just handing it to them.

A bird in hand is worth two in the bush.

Avatar
#43 billylikestodrinksoda
July 05 2012, 12:52PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
Quicksilver ballet wrote:

@ Billylikestodrinksoda

Half of the rosters in the SEL are made up of guys just playing out the string, a hockey career graveyard if you will. The other half are kids with potential. If expectations are to raise another marginal NHL d'man, then sure, let him progress at his own pace. Perhaps an arguement can be made his time there in the SEL has stunted his maturation proccess.

Let him play with better players this coming season, for all we know his level of play could rise along with the level of players surrounding him.

So your going with the Boom or Bust philosophy? Really? After one of the worst drafting records from the early 90's-2003 where most of the picks were "boom or bust" (hint: most became busts), you want to push a player off a 5 storey building and hope he miraculously survives?

And the SEL isn't some garbage league. It's on par, if not better then the AHL.

He's played world juniors and did well (first team all star as an overager). But the NHL is a different beast. Just because he has yakupov, eberle, nuge, and hall to pass too doesn't mean he'll dominate the league?

He also would have datsyuk, kopitar, brown, etc on the forecheck and pressuring him.

And you wanna play off the hope that he will succeed because of what?

Let him develop and dominate something less. Once he does that you let him test out the NHL

Avatar
#44 The Beaker
July 05 2012, 12:52PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@Shanetrain

It's not absurd to think he would, no. But it's also not out of the question the big fella realizes he has his pick out of every team in the league in one year for whatever money he wants and tests the market. It's too much of a risk.

If you are going to live that pipe dream then it is via trade. (sign and trade type deal if possible)

Would Hemsky, Klefbom, MP and Next years first get it done? Hell, that might be a big overpay on the oilers part. Who the hell knows? Nashville is not in a position of strength there.

Edit: that is an overpay but damn the roster would immediatly look better.

Avatar
#45 speeds
July 05 2012, 01:01PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Myself, I would be thinking that I'd like to leave Klefbom in the SEL for one more year, and then, depending on the new CBA's rules, would have him play for half to 2/3 of the 2013/14 season in the AHL, to preserve one of his 7 UFA seasons, which is something EDM can do only because Klefbom was born in the July 1-Sept 15 window of his draft year.

NASH did that with Weber back in 2006/7, and if they hadn't, if they'd brought him up earlier, he'd be a UFA right now instead of one more year in NASH.

Avatar
#46 Quicksilver ballet
July 05 2012, 01:03PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@ Billylikestodrinksoda

Let him dominate in an inferior league then. I'm sure he'll be so much better off by this time next summer. He certainly has a confidence issue to me it seems.

6'4" d'man with confidence issues.... appears to be kinda soft so far.

Avatar
#47 billylikestodrinksoda
July 05 2012, 01:07PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
Quicksilver ballet wrote:

@ Billylikestodrinksoda

Let him dominate in an inferior league then. I'm sure he'll be so much better off by this time next summer. He certainly has a confidence issue to me it seems.

6'4" d'man with confidence issues.... appears to be kinda soft so far.

So he has confidence issues but is ready for the NHL?

Logical

Avatar
#48 Brownlee loves the word meow
July 05 2012, 01:13PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
The Beaker wrote:

@Shanetrain

It's not absurd to think he would, no. But it's also not out of the question the big fella realizes he has his pick out of every team in the league in one year for whatever money he wants and tests the market. It's too much of a risk.

If you are going to live that pipe dream then it is via trade. (sign and trade type deal if possible)

Would Hemsky, Klefbom, MP and Next years first get it done? Hell, that might be a big overpay on the oilers part. Who the hell knows? Nashville is not in a position of strength there.

Edit: that is an overpay but damn the roster would immediatly look better.

If Edmonton is a team Weber would like to be traded to, and would sign a long term deal with then...

Hemsky, Marancin, Nick Schultz, 1st

Prongers return was:

Lupul, smid, 1st, 2nd, conditional pick

Avatar
#49 pomeranzjake
July 05 2012, 01:16PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Why does everyone want to rush Klefbom so quickly? We know defenceman take time to develop properly, his swedish teammate Brodin played ahed of him all of last (hence Klefboms limited minutes) year. Dougie Hamilton is stated as the best defensive prospect not playing in the NHL and yet Boston is rushing him in. Good teams have good prospects bubbling under the NHL level so when injuries do happen the team doesn't feel like it jumped into an ice cold bath.

Let Klefbom go back to Sweden for one more year because he wants to have one more year under his belt and let our good prospects all develop properly. Everyone likes the Detroit model and yet everyone wants to rush these kids.

Keep Calm Chive On

Avatar
#50 Dman09
July 05 2012, 01:18PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
Brownlee loves the word meow wrote:

If Edmonton is a team Weber would like to be traded to, and would sign a long term deal with then...

Hemsky, Marancin, Nick Schultz, 1st

Prongers return was:

Lupul, smid, 1st, 2nd, conditional pick

I believe a Teubert instead of Marincin would be more comparable. I'm not sure Weber is at the Pronger level yet either. The guy was top 3 in the world for a decade and had already won a Stanley Cup.

Comments are closed for this article.